Ontario’s 'responsible' budget will help province face uncertain times, finance minister says
Ontario’s 2023 budget will help the province address “uncertain economic times,” according to the finance minister.
Two days before he is set to reveal Ontario’s fiscal plans for the year, Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy gave a few hints at what families and businesses facing financial pressures can expect.
“Our government's plan is the right plan to navigate these challenges and it is already showing results,” he told reporters at an announcement on Tuesday. “Jobs are being created and we continue to attract manufacturing investments that you haven't seen in decades.”
“I look forward to sharing more details on Thursday—only two more sleeps.”
Bethlenfalvy has shared very little about what will be in the budget publicly, saying only that it will be a “responsible, targeted approach.”
When asked if this will mean further cuts, Bethlenfalvy said “no.”
“I don’t think you can cut your way to prosperity," he said.
The minister hinted that the province will not only invest in infrastructure, but will also ensure a large enough workforce to aid an aging population.
The comments were made at a pre-budget announcement that saw an additional $224 million invested into building and upgrading training centres. The province will also be spending $75 million more over the next three years to “support the operations and programming at new and existing centres.”
Labour Minister Monte McNaughton and Premier Doug Ford were both present at the event.
“Ontario is facing a historic labor shortage,” McNaughton told reporters. “In construction alone, we'll need 100,000 skilled workers over the next decade due to retirements and job growth.”
“That is why our government is pulling out all the stops to help workers gain in-demand skills by improving employment services and investing in training.”
Ontario’s Financial Accountability Office (FAO) said in a report released Tuesday morning that 2021 and 2022 marked “the strongest two-year period of job gains on record,” with unemployment dropping to pre-pandemic levels at 5.6 per cent.
At the same time, it noted that “hiring challenges persisted.”
“Of all job vacancies in Ontario, 36.3 per cent remained unfilled for 90 days or more, reaching a record high in the third quarter of 2022.”
The FAO also said that 2022 was the second consecutive year in which wage growth in Ontario did not keep up with inflation.
Ontario’s 2023 budget will be released on March 23.
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